SEASON REVIEW: ALFASHOP ALFA ROMEO
The battle for this year's Championship was again an intriguing one and looked as though it might again go down to the final round between Paul Plant and Tim Lewis but a bizarre wheel failure at Brands on Tim's Alfasud Sprint demoted him to third behind Paul and Shaun Hazlewood at a crucial moment. Mel Healey having already dropped back as a result of the dropped scores rule. A full points tally for Paul Plant at the final three rounds meant that he was unchallenged in the end and became the 2009 BRSCC Alfashop Alfa Romeo Champion bringing Bianco Auto Developments back into the winner's circle.
It was third place that remained in doubt to the end. Shaun Hazlewood held it before Silverstone but a complete disaster there meant no points and a slide to fourth behind Tim Lewis and Mel Healey. Despite losing 2 points to Roger at Silverstone, Tim did enough there to finish 2nd overall in the points table, winning the Kevin Griffiths Trophy in the process.
Mel Healey had a fabulous season in her 33 16v – starting and finishing all 13 races. She led the overall points table early on and was delighted to have finished 3rd at the end, helped as ever by the preparation of Ian Brookfield and the support from Spur Motorsport.
CLASS A produced some extremely quick cars in 2009 and some very spirited, and at times robust, racing. However, once he got over some early transmission problems, Tim Lewis was the pick of the field with his Alfasud Sprint although on a couple of occasions he was chased very hard hard by Roger Evans in his GTV and Roger would undoubtedly have finished closer to Tim in the points table if he had done more races. Neil Smith and Adie Hawkins battled hard at Combe, Brands and race 1 at Oulton as did Lee Penn, Andy Page and Chris Snowdon in the second Oulton race. There were others who gave us great entertainment in A including Christina Holley, Robin Eyre-Maunsell and Keith Waite.
CLASS B came back to life with the return of Nev Simpson with his Alfetta GT and Gareth Haywood's 156 2.5 with Nev finishing ahead in four of their outings together. By then though Gareth had done enough to stay ahead on points. Their party was spoiled a little, however, by Paul Plant's one-off outing in John Griffith's 156 at Silverstone. John himself had a troubled season including a nasty accident at Cadwell but still had enough points for third in class.
CLASS C was a little slow to get going in 2009 with Shaun Hazlewood wondering where the competition had gone. But by the end of the season five GTVs had taken part with Shaun, Kevin Evans and Barry McMahon all taking class wins while both Graham Seager, before his Oulton accident, and Ron Davidson had put in some strong performances. However, I am sure that neither Ron and Shaun would have wanted to "star" in Motors TV in the way they did! With one race to go, Shaun Hazlewood looked as though he could perhaps be championship runner-up but his luck ran out at Silverstone. Nonetheless he finished an excellent 4th overall.
CLASS D was one area where the entry was disappointing in 2009. We know of plenty of cars out there but they just did not appear. That should take nothing away though from Mel Healey's efforts with her Spur Motorsport car, taking 8 wins. Among the highlights were probably an unflustered win against Paul Plant at Combe and her great battles with Emma Karwacki at Oulton.
Paul Plant won three rounds early on and then switched to class E mid season but still maintained 2nd in class by virtue of his early successes. Gethin Llewellyn had some good outings in his 33, even if his starring role with Ian Brookfield and Mel Healeyon Motors TV took them to have a conversation with the Clerk of Course afterwards. It was good to see Ian back regularly in the second half of the season although we had to commiserate after he ended on his roof at Silverstone.
CLASS E was again the strongest class in 2009 and as ever unpredictable as far as the winner was concerned, until the arrival of Paul Plant! The interest then switched to who would be runner-up and the variety here was maintained from start to finish. Early in the year, before the arrival of Paul's number 22 wins had gone to Paul Grainger, Paul Buckley, Andy Inman and Chris Healey. Once Paul Plant got his 156 sorted out he won 5 rounds in a row before handing the car over to Gethin Llewellyn to win the final race at Silverstone. In his three races, Graham Heels finished 2nd each time while Keith Williams enjoyed a strong season with a 2nd at Donington and a third at Castle Combe, missing out on a possible win at Rockingham when his clutch started to slip as he hit the front. Sarah Heels once again started and finished every race – completing a 100% record in her four years with the 156. However, it was Paul Buckley who emerged as a very worthy Class E Champion with the support as ever from Avon Racing.